At Sunshine Coast Council we have had a practice of grading gravel roads that have been constructed over time to an standard formation including the provision of pipe culverts/causeways at low points. However we have not extended our maintenance program to what we call private gravel accesses (not formed with table drains and associated drainage) which are typically at the ends of gravel roads and only generally service a single property, or maybe two. Our position has been that if the resident upgrades the access to a formed gravel road through an operational works permit council will then maintain the upgraded section. This gravel road network that we maintain is identified on a GIS layer in Council's corporate system.
There has been increasing political pressure to upgrade these accesses which in many instances will cost several hundred thousand dollars. There is also the perception that we may have current public liability for these anyway even if there is signage. ("if it looks like a road then it is a road")
I‘m seeking feedback on how other councils with similar gravel accesses manage this issue.
Tim LetchfordCo ordinator, Asset Strategy
Civil Asset ManagementBuilt Infrastructure GroupSunshine Coast CouncilPh: 5475 8856Mobile: 0417 719 598Email: email@example.com
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I'm seeking feedback on how other councils with similar gravel accesses manage this issue.
Assuming that you are being pressured to upgrade an unformed track to council formed standards, at council cost and due to the perception, that "if it looks like a road then it is a road" and it is located on road reserve.
The area you are addressing is a bit 'murky', from the perspective of the rate base it could be perceived that council is funding what is potentially a section of driveway, (unformed track) within a road reserve which should not form part of the maintained gravel road network, as it services one property at the end of the road.
Of course the property owner is more than happy to have the unformed road upgraded and included on the maintenance program.
We had some discussion around this at Tablelands Regional Council and from memory adopted a policy of maintaining up to the second last driveway as a formed gravel road, with the section of the last driveway that was within road reserve maintained upon request as a gravel track, (e.g. Filling to rutting once this exceeded intervention level).
I don't recall if we had instances of the property owners upgrading this section, (at their cost) to a formed road to council standards.
Had the property owner upgraded the unformed track to a formed gravel road to council standards then it makes sense to have it included in the maintenance program as you mention is the case in SCC.
Here at Gladstone Regional Council we maintain up to the second last driveway as a formed gravel road and there is provision for a property owner to carry out repair or maintenance works on the road with approval and at no cost to council.
GRC policy maintaining Gravel Roads has a definition of a road as: - "A road is-
(a) an area of land that is dedicated to public use as a road; or
(b) an area of land that-
(i) is developed for, or has as 1 of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles; and (ii) is open to, or used by, the public; or
(c) a footpath or bicycle path; or
(d) a bridge, culvert, ferry, ford, punt, tunnel or viaduct.
The "where it is open to or used by the Public" is the 'murky' bit, possibly moving this to a 'General Public' might help in this regard as it would imply that it is used as a driveway but that is another discussion.
We maintain our category 5 Rural (5r) <150Vpd gravel roads to significant problem or issue by assessment, (e.g. fallen tree, severe corrugation or rutting, washouts) level only.
The category 6 Rural (6r) are not maintained, these would be similar to the unformed track mentioned above which services a property.
Hope this helps,
Senior Asset Management EngineerGladstone Regional CouncilPO Box 29 Gladstone QLD 4680Email Christopher.Barnett@gladstone.qld.gov.au | Website www.gladstone.qld.gov.au
T: 1300 416 745